Kao reaches settlement with Henkel over hair dye infringement lawsuit

By Andrew MCDOUGALL

- Last updated on GMT

Kao reaches settlement with Henkel over hair dye infringement lawsuit
The intellectual property battle between Kao and Henkel over hair dyes has been brought to an end after the Tokyo-based firm announced it had reached a settlement and agreed to drop the case.

Kao filed the infringement lawsuit in Germany regarding foam type hair colour products Perfect Mousse, and in Japan regarding foam type hair colour products FRESH LIGHT Foam Type Colour which allegedly infringes its intellectual property rights, last year.

Final settlement

However, it has now reached final settlement with Henkel and its group company Schwarzkopf & Henkel K.K., which is based on a license from Kao to Henkel with the usual terms and conditions, and will see the Japanese company withdraw both lawsuits.

Due to contractual obligations, the details of the agreement are confidential.

“Kao values its intellectual properties including patents as its core critical management asset. In the case of Kao recognizing its patents as being infringed, the Company will continue to take a firm position on enforcing its rights,”​ says a company statement.

IP rights

The lawsuit originally filed against the German company and its Japanese subsidiary requested that Henkel cease sales of its foam type hair colour products in these markets.

Kao developed the technology in 2002 and commercially launched the hair colour products for black hair in July 2007 and for grey hair in October 2008, which the company claimed established a ‘foam type’ category in the hair dye market in Japan.

Henkel has been selling its foam type hair colour mousse products in Germany since September 2010, which Kao alleged infringed its German Utility Model.

Schwarzkopf and Henkel have been selling in Japan since September 2010, also. The hair colour products in question are its Fresh Light Foam Type Colour, which Kao alleged infringed its Japanese Patent.

In both cases Kao sought injunctions on the sale of these products, with lawsuits filed in Dusseldorf and Tokyo respectively. In the case of Kao’s allegations in Germany, it also requested a declaration that Henkel is liable for charges.

Kao's German Utility Model and Japanese Patent relate to "a two agent foam type hair dye in a non-aerosol vessel"​ which Kao states are key intellectual property rights that support its beauty care business.

The settlement will now draw a line under the issue.

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